Thursday, July 2, 2009
John and David on the Corners
Well, no, it didn't play out that way, but Councilmember’s and City Comptroller candidates John Liu and David Yassky spent much of the morning flagging down registered Democrats on the corners of Bedford and North 7th Streets, on their way to their morning commute. Volunteers from both camps hoped to rack up signatures for petitions before the quiet July 4th holiday weekend.
"Hi my name is David Yassky. Thank you soooooooooooooooo much for signing my petition."
Now, it's a small city, and sometimes the candidates do cross paths in City Hall, at events like the Seneca Club or the Kings County Annual Dinner, or even a Bruce Springsteen concert or two, but the dueling campaign activities in Williamsburg struck me as a little odd. Blame (or credit) Phil DePaolo for this one. He has been planning to bring Liu around the city for petitioning events after his New York Community Council endorsed Liu in the race.
"I knew as soon as I sent the alert out that David was going to show up. Apparently David was calling the (Community Board) office yesterday, letting them know he was going to be here," Phil told me.
From 8 AM to 9:30, both candidates passed out flyers to commuters while their volunteers collected signatures for petitions. Williamsburg Park Mom Katie Naplatarski was one of the Yassky volunteers with the green sheets, and we hear Ward Dennis, Peter Gillespie , and Stephanie Thayer stopped by to sign it. Across the street, Phil and CBID's Lucy Koteen roped in their share as well, as Heather Roslund came by shortly after 9 to sign John Liu's petition. (Correction Updated: Ward Dennis said that he did not actually sign the petition and that he and Peter were heading to a NAG meeting. I put a call into the Yassky campaign to clarify.)
"I won't sign anything for David, gimmie that!" said Heather.
It's been a tense race so far, and each candidate has raised well over $1 million, with John reporting
$2.874 million, followed by Melinda Katz ($2.188) and David Weprin ($1.628). David has raised the least, at $1.425 million, though many political observers believe he has a strong chance of winning the race and he is hoping to receive endorsements from major papers, including the New York Times. In Williamsburg , however, Yassky encountered a slightly rockier reception, as evidenced by this exchange.
David: Hi, my name is David Yassky and I'm running for City Comptroller.
Woman: Did you vote for a 3rd term?
David: No, I'm not running for a 3rd term.
Woman: But you voted to extend term limits.
David: Yes, I did...
Woman: It's a terrible idea...
David: Well, I disagree with you...
Woman: ...and I hope it comes back to haunt you.
David: Shrugs meekly. Well...
At 9:30, Phil DePaolo shook John's hand and sent him off. They'll do it again in the East Village and the Lower East Side in the coming weeks. I asked John what his plans were for the Fourth and if he will be participating in Nathan's hot dog eating contest at Coney Island .
"I'll be eating my share of hot dogs this weekend, but it's hard to imagine putting 50 hot dogs in my mouth," said John.